Larne RNLI rescues 22 people

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The RNLI lifeboat in Larne launched 21 times in 2013 and brought a total of 22 people to safety, new figures have revealed.

The annual statistics show that lifeboats across the province were launched 255 times last year and rescued 245 people.

A total of 109 call outs took place in the dark, while crews spent 1,459 service hours at sea collectively.

Northern Ireland experienced one of its hottest summers for years and this was reflected in a busy season for the 10 RNLI lifeguard units.

In all, RNLI lifeguards responded to 302 incidents compared to 159 in 2012 and came to the aid of 330 people who found themselves in difficulty, which is an increase of 153 from the year before.

The Causeway Coast, where there are seven units, was the busiest area, with lifeguards responding to 222 incidents and assisting 247 people.

Reflecting on the year, Gareth Morrison, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager for Northern Ireland said: “2013 proved to be another busy year for the RNLI with an increase in both our lifeboat launches and rescues.

“Our lifeboat crews are highly trained and equipped to deal with the challenges they face and we are indebted to their dedication to respond when the need arises.

“Sadly, not every call out results in a rescue and 2013 also brought its share of tragedy. A number of our call outs involved searches for missing people and in some incidents, they involved bringing home loved ones who were lost at sea. These call outs, while challenging for all involved, demonstrate the commitment and seamanship of our crews who devote many hours to a search and recovery effort.”